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Research Sheds Light on Ways to Combat Drugged Driving

Friday, March 22, 2013

Driving under the influence of drugs is a widely underestimated killer on American roads. California car accident lawyers have found that part of the challenge in reducing the number of accidents caused by people driving under the influence of drugs has been very weak legislation, and public policies that have not been as effective in cracking down on drug driving as they have been on cracking down on drunk driving.

The new study was published in the journal Clinical Chemistry, and provides clues to a potential pattern for public policy aimed at stemming drug driving. The study specifically focused on cannabis, which is believed to be the 2nd most frequent cause of intoxicated driving, next to alcohol.

In 2009, almost 13% of young adults reported that they drove under the influence of illicit drugs. In the 2007 National Roadside Survey, there were more drivers who tested positive for drugs in their bloodstream, than alcohol.

In the research, 30 chronic cannabis smokers were isolated in a secular research unit for 33 days. Blood samples were collected from the subject every day. Out of the 30 participants, 27 tested positive for cannabis at the time that they were admitted into the secure facility. However, the amount of cannabis in the bloodstream decreased gradually over the period of the study, and on the 26th day, only 1 out of 11 participants tested negative for cannabis. Towards the end of the study period, there were only 2 out of 5 who remained positive for cannabis.

According to the researchers, the study clearly proves for the first time that cannabinoids can be detected in the blood stream of people who had smoked cannabis on a daily basis or chronic cannabis smokers, even when they have been through months of sustained abstinence from cannabis. They believe that the study findings can be used to establish per se cannabis-related regulation and to improve the prosecution of motorists who drive under the influence of cannabis.

Cardinal Mahony Grilled on Clergy Sex Abuse Case

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The wave of sex abuse scandals sweeping through the Catholic Church has resulted in the questioning of many prominent members of the Church. Recently, the former head of the Los Angeles Archdiocese underwent a rigorous 3 ½ hour-long questioning in a case involving a fugitive priest.

Cardinal Roger Mahony was being questioned in the case involving Mexican priest Nicolas Aguilar Rivera. According to law-enforcement, Rivera abused at least 26 children during the nine months that he was attached to a church in Los Angeles. The case against Rivera is strong. According to church files that were released recently, Rivera fled to Mexico when it became obvious that his molestation of children would result in his prosecution.

According to the files, an aide to Mahony, Thomas Curry told Rivera that many parents, who had become aware that he was abusing their children, were likely to go to the police. Curry told Rivera that he was in grave danger, resulting in Rivera fleeing to Mexico. He remains in that country.

Mahoney was therefore questioned about his role in shielding Rivera from law-enforcement action. He was also questioned about other priests who were also accused of sex abuse.

Cardinal Mahony is facing more criticism from Catholic organizations for his role in the clergy sex abuse scandal. A Catholic organization has delivered a petition that contains thousands of signatures, asking him to avoid attending the papal election enclave in Rome.

Clergy members, who are accused of the sexual abuse of children, often find that they have been convicted before they are even charged. That is the low level of tolerance that the American public seems to have for these crimes. Any clergy man who has been accused of sex crimes against a child, or is being investigated, needs to seek the advice of a San Jose criminal defense attorney immediately.

Deadbeat Dad Who Owed $1 Million in Child Support Pleads Guilty

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A 50-year-old man, and father of 3 children, who owed over $1 million in child support payments, has pleaded guilty to charges of traveling across state lines and outside the country to avoid making the payments.

Robert Sands appeared in a federal court in New York, and told the court that he had left the state of New York in order to avoid paying child support. His flight out of the country came after several warrants for his arrest were issued in 2000 as well as 2002. He spent much of 2012 in Thailand, as he evaded law enforcement. In November, he was arrested in the Philippines, and was deported to this country. He was arrested in Los Angeles.

As of now, the total amount that Sands owes in child support is more than $1.2 million. If convicted, he faces 4 years in prison. His arrest was thanks to efforts by the federal Department Of Health And Human Services, which gets involved when parents who owe child support leave the country or cross state lines. The Department of Health and Human Services actually has a “Most Wanted Deadbeat “ list, which features noncustodial parents who have failed to make child support payments.

Sands is believed to have child support payments pending at least back to 1995. In that year, a judge ordered him to make child support payments of $750 per week, and the court later increased that amount to $995 per week. His child support troubles only worsened when he married another woman and moved to Florida 2 years later. However, that marriage also ended in divorce, and he was forced to pay an additional $650 per week in child support.

If your spouse has fallen behind in child support payments, seek the help of a SanJose family lawyer to protect your rights and your family.

Music Can Impact Your Driving Skills

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Motorists, who are driving to rock music or music with a fast tempo, may be at a much higher risk of speeding up while driving, or becoming distracted at the wheel. Those who are listening to hip-hop music may be at a higher risk of driving aggressively. Those are the findings from an intriguing new study that compares differences in driving styles when motorists listen to different types of music.

The study included 8 subjects, including 4 men and 4 women. They were put in a driving simulator and made to drive 500 miles, completing half the trip without any music in the car, while the remaining part of the trip was completed listening to different types of music.

The researchers found that the motorists’ driving styles were impacted by the kind of music they listened to. Rock music seemed to be the most dangerous music to drive to, but it isn't as if classical music will calm you down and help you drive safe either. In fact, the researchers found that when a motorist is listening to classical music while driving, he is a higher risk for driving inconsistently.

Alabama personal injury lawyers do not find it surprising that heavy metal songs increased a person's risk of speeding. Motorists, who listened to hip-hop while driving, were found to accelerate faster while driving, and braked at the very last minute. These are dangerous practices that increase a person's risk of being involved in an accident.

So, what is the best music to listen to while driving? The researchers suggest any music that mimics the beat of the human heart, or between 60 and 80 beats per minute. The Norah Jones hit Come Away with Me was found to have the most positive influence on a person’s driving.

Divorce Risks Increase When Spouses Have Different Drinking Habits

Friday, February 15, 2013

According to new research, alcohol imbalance between spouses can increase the risk that they will end up talking to a San José divorce lawyer. The study finds that couples who have very different drinking habits from each other are much more likely to end up in divorce court.

The research was conducted in Norway, where the researchers found that the risk of filing for divorce increases when one person in the marriage drinks much more than the other. Compared to couples that drink lightly, couples in which one partner drank much more than the other were at a much higher risk of divorce.

In fact, according to the research, the risk of divorce increases by as much as 3 times when the husband is a light drinker, and the wife is a heavy drinker. Conversely, the researchers found that the risk of divorce was fairly low if both spouses drank the same amount. The interesting finding from the study is that heavy drinking by females is much more likely to lead to divorce. This could be partly due to the fact that heavy drinking by females is still frowned upon by society, compared to heavy drinking by men.

Besides, when a woman drinks heavily, it is much more likely to affect her family life, and her ability to raise her children than when it is the husband who is drinking heavily. Divorce, according to the researchers, is more likely when the wife is going out of control with her drinking.

According to the researchers, the results are conclusive enough for them to recommend that people, who are thinking of getting married, first determine whether their alcohol habits are in sync before they take the plunge.

Prison Policy Change Not Responsible for Alleged Crime Spikes

Thursday, January 31, 2013

New data shows a spike in crime in California, and already, overenthusiastic public policy groups are seizing on this data as proof that California's new prison plan is not working, and is actually increasing crime.

Under the overhaul of the state’s badly overburdened and disastrous prison system, individuals, who would have earlier been sent to overcrowded state prisons, are now being sent to county jails. That has coincided with a spike in crime rates in California. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, there was a 7.6% increase in homicide in California, and a double-digit increase in burglary and auto theft in the first 6 months of 2012. The spike seems to be apparent when you compare it with statistics during the same period of time in 2011.

Already, several groups have pounced on those statistics, claiming that the reason for the spike in burglaries, and property crime is the fact that many criminals are not in prison where they belong, but in county jails.

But a closer analysis of the facts seems to point San Jose criminal defense attorneys to a totally different conclusion. The change in prison policy seems to have actually resulted in a drop in crime rates in several counties. According to the Center, there has been an increase in property crimes and violent crimes in approximately 40 of the 69 largest cities in the Golden State. Those increases are fairly significant. However, the crime rates have varied significantly across counties, with San Mateo showing a 3% increase, while Santa Barbara recorded a 13% decline in those crimes.

According to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, there is no association between the crime hikes and the large proportions of offenders, who are now being sent to county jails, and not state prisons. In fact, according to the Center, there has actually been a drop in crime rates in 5 counties which have received high numbers of these prisoners under the new plan.

Cohabiting Couples More Likely to Have Traditional Housework Roles

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

According to a new study, couples who live together without marriage are much more likely to have traditional household responsibilities and roles, compared to couples who are married.

The study conducted by Cornell University focused on working-class couples who cohabit without marriage. The study found that cohabiting couples who live together without marriage tend to have more traditional roles in housework. In such relationships, women were responsible for supervising the chores, even when they did most of the household work.

In these households, women were responsible for completing a disproportionate amount of household duties. This was even though the women in the cohabiting relationship were much more likely to demand equal partnerships, and even though the men were progressive enough to want a partner who earned a living.

None of the couples in the survey shared equal financial and housework responsibilities. Traditionally male dominant roles seemed to be much more common in these relationships, with men assuming the dominant position in the household, but continuing to be fine with the fact that their partners were working and earning money. Just because the women contributed to most of the household work, did not necessarily give them a bigger say, or a more dominant role in the household.

The study did not investigate whether such unequal division of duties or the existence of a male dominant household structure proved detrimental to the relationship. However, the results of the survey do confirm to San Jose family lawyers, the need for cohabiting couples to outline their financial obligations and rights clearly in a cohabitation agreement.

Sperm Donor to Be Held Liable for Child Support Payments

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

An interesting case from across the country is raising intriguing questions about the responsibilities of sperm donors in child support matters.

This case is out of Kansas where him where San Jose family lawyers find that a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple resulting in the birth of a now 3-year-old girl, is being held accountable for child support payments for the little girl.

It all began when William Marotta answered a Craigslist ad asking for sperm donors for the couple, Angie Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner. The lesbian couple who had been together for 8 years, had already raised children and adopted several others, but now wanted children of their own.

In 2009, Marotta donated his sperm, and as part of the agreement with the couple, waived off compensation and all his rights over the child. As part of the agreement, the couple also stated that he would not be held responsible for any child support payments or liabilities in the future.

However, soon after the child was born, Schreiner and Bauer separated, and were faced with troubled times. Bauer, who was the main earning partner, was unable to work because of an illness, while Schreiner was forced to apply for public assistance. She filed for Medicaid in order to obtain health insurance for the 3-year-old daughter.

However, the Kansas Department of Children and Families stated that it would be willing to provide help, but only if Schreiner released the name of the child's biological father, so that he could be asked to pay child support. The agreement between Bauer and the couple which clearly stated that the couple would indemnify Marotta of any child support-related payments and any other expenses seemed to be meaningless, because the artificial insemination was done not in a clinic, but through a Craigslist ad, bypassing the state’s legal protocols on this issue.

Marotta will now be held responsible for $6,000 in past child support, as well as future child support.

ESC Systems Save Thousands of Lives in Accidents Every Year

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Electronic stability control systems have saved thousands of lives in accidents since these were first introduced. California personal injury lawyers expect that more lives will be saved every year, as this feature becomes standard in all automobiles.

A federal mandate requires that the systems be standard in all automobiles, with 100% compliance required for all 2012 model year vehicles. That means that electronic stability control systems will become as standard as seat belts and airbags in all vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released the results of a study, which shows that between 2008 and 2010, these systems have helped save more than 2,200 lives in accidents across the country. In 2008 alone, electronic stability control systems saved as many as 634 lives. The following year, 705 lives were saved and in 2010, 863 lives were saved because of electronic stability control systems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that ESC systems are consistently effective in helping the driver maintain control over the vehicle, and avoid rollover accidents.

Rollover crashes are some of the deadliest accidents on American highways. These accidents occur when a vehicle flips over after the driver loses control, and occupants inside may be at serious risk of injuries or fatalities. The risk of occupants being ejected partially or completely from a vehicle is very real during a rollover. Additionally, passengers may be at risk from roof crushes and collapses, which are very common during a rollover.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been so impressed by the success of electronic stability control systems in reducing fatalities that it has proposed that similar systems be also installed in all trucks and buses.

ADHD Medications Linked to Lower Crime Rates

Thursday, December 06, 2012

According to new research, persons who are on medications to control ADHD may have a much lower risk of criminal activity and criminal convictions.

Alabama criminal defense attorneys have come across earlier research that has linked persons with criminal convictions to symptoms of childhood ADHD, with the symptoms continuing into adulthood. It is estimated that as many as 5% of schoolchildren suffer from ADHD.

The research was conducted in Sweden, and was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the Swedish Research Council and the UK's Wellcome Trust. The results of the study have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers analyzed patient, crime as well as drug prescription registries over a four-year period. All the patients analyzed in the study were above the age of 15, and they were all diagnosed with ADHD. More than 26,000 patients were analyzed as part of the study.

The researchers compared the behavior of the patients while they were on their medications to control Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, with the periods of time when they were off the drug for at least 6 months. They found that crime rates during the study were approximately 32% lower in the case of males and 41% lower in the case of females with ADHD. Broadly, the number of crimes committed was approximately 1/3rd lower when the person was taking the ADHD medication, compared to when he was not on the medication.

The researchers recommend that persons who suffer from ADHD continue their medications in order to help reduce criminal behavior. They also suggest that keeping people on their medication could help reduce recidivism rates, and keep prison populations low.

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